This bibliographical essay is David Hart’s introduction to Property and its Enemies. Part III. How to Get a Free Lunch? Just Apply for It., by Anthony de Jasay.

In this article Jasay takes issue with a new group of “enemies of property”, namely the contributors to a collection of essays entitled What Is Wrong With A Free Lunch? (2001) in which the idea of a government guaranteed minimum income for all is advocated. Jasay goes through the moral, political and economic arguments why this would be a bad idea. But he also notes with some resignation that even some free market economists, like Milton Friedman, have also been tempted by the idea of a “negative income tax”.


Joshua Cohen & Joel Rogers, eds., What Is Wrong With A Free Lunch? (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001).

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1962). See Chapter XII “The Alleviation of Poverty”, pp. 192-3 where Friedman advocates “an arrangement that recommends itself on purely mechanical grounds”.

Jodie T. Allen, “Negative Income Tax” in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics at Econlib. URL:


*David M. Hart is Director of the Online Library of Liberty Project.

For more articles by David M. Hart, see the Archive.